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I hate you, Toronto, ON • Canada • 27 Years Old • Male
While it may seem silly to ask such a question considering Matt Stajan produced 55 points last season, his role on the Toronto Maple Leafs is not set in stone.

Stajan, who had his best season as a Maple Leaf in 2008-09, proved to be a reliable two-way forward, and found his place among the top-six. However, many critics have pondered whether last season was simply a flash in the pan, as Stajan seemed to establish his role in the National Hockey League as a dependable No.3 center.

Prior to the signing of Rickard Wallin, formerly of the Swedish Elite League’s Farjestads BK Karlstad, the natural assumption was that Mikhail Grabovski, Tyler Bozak, and Stajan would assume the center positions for the club—leaving the fourth line open for Wayne Primeau. Things change, and it will be much to the chagrin of one of these players

And if you think Wallin accepted a deal in Toronto to wither away on the fourth line you’re mistaken. The signing of Wallin was to replace the departed Dominic Moore, who served, quite adequately I might add, as the Leafs’ No.3 center.

That leaves the No.2 center position vacant for either Stajan or Bozak, whose skills are simply to advanced to play on the fourth line—which, by the way, will be a menacing line with the likes of Wayne Primeau and Colton Orr on the ice. Obviously, with Stajan having six NHL seasons under his belt, the position is his to lose.

But, let’s assume for one moment that Bozak’s play in training camp warrants a position in the top-six, and Burke is forced to insert him into the line-up. What does that mean for Stajan? Or Wallin? With Burke stating that he is not afraid to send players down on one-way contracts, would he consider sending down a player such as Wallin so quickly?

I don’t think so.

Burke has a plan, and this plan does not involve planting his lips on the collective asses of his players. One thing is for certain: Stajan, Wallin or Bozak will not be starting in the NHL this season. If it’s Wallin, who signed a one-way contract, he may be off of the Leafs as quickly as he joined, as he would be eligible for the waiver-wire. If it’s Bozak, who signed a two-way contract, he’d simply be sent to Toronto’s American Hockey League affiliate, the Toronto Marlies, where he could hone his skills and get some more seasoning.

If it’s Stajan, however, I believe he’ll be traded prior to October 1st—the start of the NHL regular season. And if that is the case, that would mean both Bozak and Wallin proved to be more valuable in their respective roles. And if Burke feels Bozak is ready to inherit the No.2 center position, and Wallin as the No.3, then I believe he will not hesitate to trade away an asset such as Stajan, who would still be regarded as a valuable commodity around the league.

However, if Wallin is a failed experiment and can’t translate his success from the SEL to the NHL, then Stajan could very well find his spot on third line. But if that happens, you can expect a drop in production for the 25 year-old.

But consider that Burke did sign Wallin to a one-way contract, which speaks volumes to the confidence he has in the 29 year-old.

It all depends on Bozak, who many feel could fight his way into line-up next season. If he does, then don’t be surprised if Stajan is packaged with one of the Leafs’ excess defensemen to acquire a top-six player.

Either way, this should all work in the Leafs’ favour. And no matter which player you’re favouring, it’s all for the same cause: a brighter future for the team we all love.

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Filed Under:   Stajan  
August 25, 2009 5:04 PM ET | Delete
Nice read. I believe it will go Grabo Stajan Wallin and Bozak in the minors for one year. However I hope Bozak stays with the club and Stajan is packaged with probably White or MVR for a top six winger.
August 25, 2009 5:04 PM ET | Delete
Nice read. I believe it will go Grabo Stajan Wallin and Bozak in the minors for one year. However I hope Bozak stays with the club and Stajan is packaged with probably White or MVR for a top six winger.
August 25, 2009 5:52 PM ET | Delete
good luck Stajan is not a valuable commodity. The leafs ahve been trying to trade him for years now. If Antropov gets you a 2nd then the best Stajan will get is a 3rd rounder.
August 25, 2009 5:53 PM ET | Delete
Vanryn and Stajan are not enough to get a top 6 forward. Its going to cost a drfat pick in there and Burke will not trade picks.
August 25, 2009 5:54 PM ET | Delete
Stajan will be waived if anything because thats the only way he goes no one wants him
August 25, 2009 6:02 PM ET | Delete
it's so cute how you think Bozak is going to play in the nhl this year
August 25, 2009 6:06 PM ET | Delete
I said he COULD. Read next time :P
August 25, 2009 8:24 PM ET | Delete
I highly doubt Bozak will show enough to make the team out of training camp... Thinking 2010-2011 is the earliest he'll be ready for the show.
August 25, 2009 8:27 PM ET | Delete
kevinlowe, I'm kinda confused by your comments... no other team wants Stajan because of his simple ineffectiveness on the ice (Penner)? or because his production can't justify his contract (Horcoff)? or is it because he just doesn't have the talent to play in the NHL (Pisani)? I'd appreciate some clarification of why another team wouldn't want a decent offensive player with all around ability at a modest cap hit of 1,750 000.
August 25, 2009 8:31 PM ET | Delete
just a note: Stajan had two MORE points in four LESS games playing four LESS minutes a game on a WORSE team whilst earning close to four million LESS a season than the Oilers top centre, Shawn Horcoff... so I'm pretty sure there's at least one team out there that would like Matt Stajan... for his contract if nothing else...
August 25, 2009 9:25 PM ET | Delete
Im not talking about the Oilers Im talking about Stajan and the fact that no one wants him. The leafs have been trying to trade him the last 2 deadlines. They will be lucky to get a 3rd for him
August 25, 2009 11:40 PM ET | Delete
They haven't been actively shopping Matt Stajan... its been all along with most the team as Brian Burke said: anyone not named Schenn is available for a price... it would be disingenuous of me to suggest there has been no Stajan trade talk, but any talks haven't progressed to where the Leafs price for a valuable player have been met.
August 25, 2009 11:41 PM ET | Delete
Its the same for Alexei Ponikarovsky. He was almost dealt to Nashville last deadline, but it didn't happen. Price wasn't met and a guy who has a great deal of trade value remains in Toronto.
August 25, 2009 11:54 PM ET | Delete
u forgot john mitchell
August 26, 2009 2:08 AM ET | Delete
Never try to put a price on a player... you never know who values him at what amount (Marc Savard got traded for a Russian who never had a shot of cracking the nhl when he went to Atlanta). Burke is generally good at extortic teams in a deal. (Beachamin for Federov). Top 6 is very optamistic for a guy who will have a sharp drop in preduction if he were playing on a team which had a proper top 6... in which case why bother?
August 26, 2009 9:14 AM ET | Delete
Stajan is a solid 3rd line centre. Bozak will need time to develop whether that be N or A and he's definitely not ready for a 2nd line type of responsibility. I could however see him shifting to the wing if it meant playing in the NHL. I'd love to see Stajan packaged with MVR, White and or Stempniak for anything...picks/players/prospects!
August 26, 2009 9:16 AM ET | Delete
Wallin and Mitchell not Primeau will be our 3rd and 4th line centres. Primeau and Orr can play the wings on the 4th line, hopefully they send Mayers down to the farm.
August 26, 2009 12:53 PM ET | Delete
I just don't see Stajan moved unless there's a more talented player coming in. This is a guy who played solidly in all situations for the Leafs. Unless Wallin greatly exceeds expectations, the second line job is his to lose.
August 28, 2009 3:16 AM ET | Delete
Mitchell will not be on the 3rd or 4th line he's going to play on one of the first 2 lines with Blake.
September 4, 2009 11:13 PM ET | Delete
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